About 2 weeks ago we already went to the Roadburn festival which caused me to spend 3 days in the 013 in Tilburg, yesterday i found myself on my way again to Tilburg. This time for Neurotic Deathfest, a two day festival which brings you the new, the old, the good and the bad in the deathmetal scene. Last year we already went and it was pretty cool seeing bands like Insision, Man Must Die, Revocation, Immolation and Carcass ao. This year, for us, was the year of the return of At the Gates and Atheist to Dutch soil.
Arriving at around 4 we quickly exchanged our ticket for a wristband and decided to check out the merchandise, there wasn’t a lot of merch yet and the stuff that was there wasn’t really appealing, at my age i don’t really feel like walking around with a shirt that has a decapitated body, spilled guts or childish offensive texts, altho that has never really appealed to me..but anyway. After deciding that there wasn’t much to be bought we walked towards the main hall where Incantation was playing. Apparently a big name in deathmetal, and of course i had heard of them, just never really heard them before. And i will keep it that way, a bit of a cliche form of deathmetal they play and so we quickly wandered off to the Batcave (or Stage01 as they call it now) where Logic of Denial was playing, it wasn’t very crowded and after two songs we found out why as they weren’t really interesting. We decided to walk to the Midi Theatre to see Aeon. Because we are old farts that kinda dreaded the idea of having to stand on our feet the entire day we moved up to the balcony. The Midi being a former movie theatre has very nice and comfy seats A rather odd combination, watching deathmetal while sitting comfortably. Anyway, Aeon played, a band that’s got a bit of a buzz around them so we wanted to check them out, they were ok, but not really very special. So after a few songs we decided to head back to the 013.
Because Necrophagia cancelled their friday gig as they couldn’t leave America with all the tornadoes going on there there was a bit of a mix up in the schedule, causing Wormed to play friday as well as saturday. Something i didn’t object to because i rather like their Quasineutrality EP from last year. Wormed is a brutal, tight, no-nonsense type of band and the first song was pretty cool, what wasn’t cool is that after every song they played a sample, introducing the next song, which became a drag rather quickly. And because the sound wasn’t too good either we decided to leave again to see Centurian. A Dutch band that reformed recently, having a crystal clear sound and catchy songs they were a pleasant surprise, shame that we only saw three songs by them. After they finished we went back to see Exhumed, another recently reformed band. But their sound really sucked from where we were standing, basically all we heard were bass sounds and hardly any guitars. Which made us decide to take a little break before Kraanium started. Another band that got a bit of a buzz around them which they completely failed to live up to. It was boring, lame and lacked about everything a good death metal gig should have. So we left rather quickly to go and see Master in the Midi. I’m not a Master fan but since they have existed since 1983 (!) we figured we’d atleast watch them. That’s all we did as it wasn’t very interesting and we got hungry. Beneath the Midi Theatre hall there is a place you can sit and grab a bit to eat. So that’s what we did before walking back to the 013.
Misery Index is a band i’ve never really paid attention to. Misery Index is a ‘spin off’ of Dying Fetus. I loved Dying Fetus (loved indeed, because their latest offerings to me aren’t anything else but a lame re-hash of their brilliant earlier albums) but Misery Index never really did it for me, saw them live a couple of years ago and i didn’t like it. We walked into their set for the last three songs and what i saw really surprised me. A super tight band, a crystal clear sound and interesting songs. So i guess i’ll check out their last couple of albums soon.
After Misery Index it was time for the first band we really wanted to see: Atheist. Friends of mine were always very big fans of them but i somehow really paid any attention to them before, but their comeback album after 17 years really surprised me. After a long soundcheck i expected a crystal clear sound again, but i was rather dissapointed once they started. You couldn’t hear the guitars and the bass sounded really odd. After removing my ear protection the sound suddenly became a lot better, close to perfect for a hall the size of 013. A nice mixture of old and newer songs made this a great gig really. You hardly even noticed the singer is a bit of a burned out Axl Rose look a like. But somehow it rather fit the music, despite all the musicians being amazingly skilled.
After Atheist it lasted another 50 minutes of waiting for At the Gates to start. For me they were the main reason to go to this years festival. Last time i saw them they were supporting Napalm Death in 1996. A really great gig, from what i remember of it. Their last reunion tour didn’t bring them to the Netherlands, so i was glad they were on this festival. The sound wasn’t perfect but the enthusiasm of the band surely made up for that. Tomas Lindberg is still a great frontman, and the songs they played were basically all the songs i wanted to hear, a nice mixture of old and new material. The highlight of the gig was Kingdom Gone, which gave me goosebumps at some point. Really really nice to see them again and see them so enthusiastic on stage.
All in all the festival line-up wasn’t as good as last years’ in my opinion. There were no surprises really but it was a nice day. Seeing some familiar faces again and finally seeing At the Gates again. Together with Atheist they were the highlight of the day.